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Fairfax Estate Planning Lawyer 

Contrary to what many individuals think, it is never to early to start estate planning. While the topic can seem frightening and overwhelming, a skilled lawyer could guide you through it. Consult a Fairfax estate planning lawyer to get started on the estate planning process. A capable trusts and estates attorney could ensure that your assets are protected and that your loved ones are provided for.

Estate Planning Process

The estate planning process begins with a meeting with a Fairfax estate planning lawyer to first discuss all of the options a person has regarding an estate plan. The attorney identifies the pros and cons of different types of planning based on the person’s circumstances and financial situation. The estate planning process involves a discussion about a person’s wishes for the disposition of their assets at the time of their death and naming an executor to administer their estate.

Length of the Estate Planning Process

The estate planning process can take several months and begins when a person first meets with an attorney and ends when they sign and finalize their estate planning documents. Often times, people have a hard time deciding how their estate should be distributed and change their minds several times throughout the process.  After the initial meeting, attorneys draft the estate planning documents decided on by the individual.

Drafting an Estate Plan

Estate planning has become complex, and drafting of a complex estate planning can take several weeks.  The individual is provided the first draft of their estate planning documents for review.  After they review the documents, request any revisions, or ask final questions, attorneys finalize the documents. There is one more final meeting for people to execute their documents.  After documents are signed, the individual may choose to continue to work with our attorneys to assist with funding any trusts created or coordinating beneficiary designations.

Indecisiveness can extend the length of the process. Even after the documents are executed, people continue to review their documents periodically to ensure the documents are current and represent the person’s wishes, and that no changes to the law or the personal preferences have changed.

When Should People Start Estate Planning?

It is never too early for someone to start thinking about estate planning and their wishes for the distribution of their effects. Many times people put off estate planning because it does not seem to be an urgent matter, however, thinking about a person’s estate plan and their wishes make the process more efficient once they begin working with a Fairfax estate planning attorney. Once a person has a plan in place, ensuring the plan is current and representative of their wishes makes changing the plan easier throughout their life. Planning an estate early makes the process more efficient later because a person has a better idea of what they want as time goes on. It also makes revisions easier when a person has an estate plan established.

First Steps When Planning an Estate

Choosing an estate planner is often the first step for individuals in the estate planning process.  Prior to an initial meeting, Fairfax estate planning lawyers often send an estate planning questionnaire for review and completion.  The questionnaire assists potential clients in thinking about some of the decisions that will be made throughout the estate planning process, and to organize their assets.  The questionnaire serves as the initial introduction to attorneys so that the initial meeting can be tailored to the person’s needs.

Ways Estate Planning May Differ in Fairfax From Other Jurisdictions

In neighboring jurisdictions like Maryland and Washington, DC, residents must be familiar with a separate estate tax. In Virginia, there is no estate tax, however, there is a federal estate tax that all Virginia residents need to be mindful of when considering their estate plan. Virginia also has unique rules when it comes to probate and real property that is left to another person in a will. It is helpful to speak to a Fairfax estate planning attorney about these variations to avoid any complications when it comes to administering an estate.

Benefit of Working With a Fairfax Estate Planning Attorney

A person does not necessarily need to work with an attorney who is also a member of the Fairfax bar for estate planning purposes. In fact, all that is required is a Virginia bar license. Counties in Virginia do not require separate bar licenses. However, it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the nuances of Fairfax County and the clerk’s office.

It is important to work with an attorney who practices the administration of an estate in Fairfax and in the estate planning. This is helpful in the event that a person’s named executor comes to the attorney who drafted the estate plan to help with the administration in that specific county. If an individual wants to begin the estate planning process, they should consult a capable Fairfax estate planning lawyer that can help.